Best backuppract exacep_od_may10

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Best backup practices for your dental office data

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Best backuppract exacep_od_may10

  1. 1. Information on computers business and technology for the dental profession. Computer Ryan Vankessel Scott Holmes Best Backup Practices for the Dental Office Why using an off-site backup strategy makes good business senseW ith more dental practices attempting to go paper- less, what are the best op-tions to ensure data is kept safe?Online backup is a technology that one that is fully electronic and auto- mated. The reasons are clear, and the benefits are many; maintaining records in an electronic database is simpler for health-care professionals The possibility of permanent dam- age to data is always there. Events like flooding, fire and vandalism do hap- pen, and though insurance might cover the material costs, it certainlywill store essential data off-site for re- and greatly increases efficiency, can’t replace the most important aspecttrieval if a disaster such as flood, fire which, in turn, leads to greater office of a successful practice: information.or theft should occur. Factors that productivity. With electronic record- Some other issues that lead to lossgenerally play in the selection of an keeping, finding important informa- of data include hard-drive crashes,online backup solution include secu- tion, like patient histories, X-rays, backup tapes failing and theft. In anyrity, speed, reliability, uptime, quality, appointments, invoices, purchase or- of these situations, not only does thecustomer service and cost. ders and even tax records, is just a few practice lose valuable equipment, but keystrokes away. also the lost data is impossible to re- Illustration: iStockWhy does a dentist need an Despite the advantages, one thing cover. In fact, many businesses haveoff-site backup service? hasn’t changed: The risk inherent in both a legal and an ethical obligationDentists are increasingly switching keeping valuable information on-site to protect patients’ confidential data.from a paper-based records system to and in one place. As an indication of how important30 Ontario Dentist • May 2010
  2. 2. Computerdata is to a business, the U.S. Bureau requirements by the dental practice of data, so recovery can be per-of Labor indicates that 93 percent of to continually monitor the software? formed from a specific date and notcompanies that lose data are out of • Does the off-site backup service pro- the most recent backup?business within five years. vide the dental practice with re- There is a slightly better choice ports, detailing the number of What is the price range for athan keeping all data on-site, though successful backups? quality off-site system? Areit still leaves practices open to some • Is there a support team proactively there optional extras that arepotential problems: the traditional identifying potentially problematic worthwhile to a dental pratice?moveable backup. For example, tradi- issues and notifying the business Prices vary depending on the servicetional backups can still be damaged, that there could be an issue with offering. A good backup system thatnegating the entire point of backing the backup, the computer or data? has the highest level of encryptionup data, and they also leave open the • Is the service encrypting and secur- and secured facilities can range be-possibility of identity theft. Data is ing the data before broadcasting tween $19.99/month for 3GB unlim-stored in an un-encrypted format, across the Internet to the backup ited backups during the month, rightsuch as a CD, that, if lost or stolen, servers? AES (Advanced Encryption up to $50/month for 10GB of data.can expose client information. Send- Standard) is the encryption standard Since only the data files require regu-ing your moveable backup home with algorithm approved by NIST (Na- lar backup, the majority of dentalan assistant or office administrator tional Institute of Standards and practice management databasesisn’t good practice, from the stand- Technology). should be fine with a monthly servicepoint of either privacy or security. • Does the software offer multiple se- of between 1 and 3 GB.After all, not everyone always acts in cure locations for redundancy?good faith, and employees do move • Does the software allow the practicefrom one practice to another. to keep or retain multiple versions continued page 32 It’s impossible to argue against thefact that lost data, because of a poorbackup strategy, translates to lostmoney for every business, but evenmore so for businesses that rely heavilyon information, like dental practices.What are the key technicalrequirements of an off-sitebackup system/service?In order to backup files off-site, thepractice will have to be equipped witha high-speed Internet link, accessible24-7, from which data can be backedup to the remote location. An Internetprovider may have an upload cap, i.e. amaximum upload speed, so this detailis also important to consider.What features should a dentistlook for when evaluating anoff-site backup service?When deciding which backup serviceto choose, it’s important to considerthe following:• Does the software work well with existing practice management or imaging software?• Can it be automated and scheduled at intervals to ensure that there are no May 2010 • Ontario Dentist 31
  3. 3. Computer In regards to “free” online backup systems, live by this rule: if something seems too good to be true, than it probably is. Though these services might be good enough for an under- Financing graduate student to store an essay or some research, they lack the security and speed required for a dental office to meet minimum privacy requirements What alternatives might a dentist consider before retaining an off-site backup service? The only effective alternative to off- site backup is the use of multiple USB hard drives that have an encrypting file system to protect data files if they are ever lost. Microsoft Windows pro- vides bit-locker drive encryption in Windows Vista Business and Win- dows 7 Professional and above. You For more information, please contact a local 1.866.276.7642 will still need to manually perform the backup or change USB hard drives Desante representative. www.desante.ca daily to ensure redundancy. An en- crypting password must also be en- tered every time a backup is required, which still leaves the dental practice vulnerable internally. Ultimately, the best security and peace of mind for dental offices is an off-site backup. They offer safety, privacy and efficiencies unavailable through tradi- tional backup strategies. Scott Holmes is CEO of Exacep Offsite Backup. He has 12 years of computer systems experience, with certifications in Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Comptia, Citrix, Left Hand Networks & Vmware. IN BUSINESS AS IN LIFE, CHOOSING THE RIGHT PARTNER IS EVERYTHING Three years ago, Scott started Exacep Offsite Backup, which primarily focuses on providing online backup for the med- DISCIPLINED FINANCIAL ADVICE FOR THE PROFESSIONAL ical and dental industry. Scott can be A unique wealth advisory experience for professionals: contacted at sholmes@exacep.com. Discretionary investment management Ryan Vankessel is involved with busi- Insurance solutions Tax and estate planning ness development for Exacep Offsite Backup. He has more than 15 years of For a disciplined approach to manage your wealth with ease IT-related experience within a variety of and confidence, please contact me. verticals, including health care, supply GINA SCOLA chain and legal. He is responsible for the Managing Director & Portfolio Manager overall business development and T: 416.681.7043 marketing strategy at Exacep Offsite A division of CI Private Counsel LP E: gscola@stonegatepc.com Backup. Ryan can be contacted at rvankessel@exacep.com.32 Ontario Dentist • May 2010

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